I rode out of Annapolis and set my sights on Doug and Shev's house in Vienna Virginia. Older cousins or family of sorts. Six miles down the road, and my achillies tendons started screaming. I had a destination, so I kept going. And going, and going.
I rode through Washington DC, and the commuter path into downtown couldn't be more inviting. I rode past some nicely rendered graffiti, and had some nice industrial views. The path was smooth, and my heart begain to sing. I rode through Bunker Hill. I rode along the mall. I rode past the Washington Monument and paused to look up. I rode past the Lincoln Memorial and across the river. Then a convoluted series of paths made my ankles start to scream louder and louder as the grades became steep.
I finally got to Vienna, and everything was ok. First thing I did was jump in the pool. My skin was scorched and the water felt great.
Doug is some sort of cousin. I don't know my own family tree so well. Doug is a connector in my family, to use verbage from the book The Tipping Point. He has everyone's email address and phone number, and his house is where the family reunions are held for my mother's side of the family. We aren't the closest family tie, but it was easy to call him because I could assume I would be welcome. I was. There was other family there, and when I sat at the table outside I was the sixth person. I was the only one under 70, which made for an interesting contrast, but no matter.
There was beer on tap, and wine being had as well. A plate of cheese, crackers, and pepperoni sat on the table under an electronic retractable awning. Amidst the usual talk about pills and pains (the "organ recital" as Doug calls it), I got some bits of stories about my family that I'd never known. These folks all knew my grandparents who passed away before I was born. I learned a couple details about how my grandparents met, and a couple details about my parents when they first met and when they married. I don't know this stuff. I have no source to hear about this stuff. It's not that I'm not interested, I just don't have occasion to hear these things, and I'm glad for the rare opportunity.
We went out to dinner. At 7:21pm, I was eating meatloaf. As a guest, everything is paid for, and I am enjoying the top possible hospitality.